That brother Dao and Zhu Zhongba returned safely immensely raised the spirits of everyone in the farmstead. They left with 40 people and returned with 48. The original 40 men had also only received light injuries, not even any serious wounds. Even Lin Yuan was surprised.
“It scared me to death!” Brother Dao revealed his true nature now that he was safe. As he drank Lin Yuan’s stash of rice wine he told how they found the coal: “Too many guards at the iron mine and we are just 40 people. It would be like hitting a rock with an egg.”
Saying so he asked Lin Yuan: “Did I say ‘hitting a rock with an egg’ correctly?”
Lin Yuan grinned: “It’s right, brother Dao said it correctly.”
Brother Dao became pleased with himself: “So we didn’t dare go over, but we remember the location. Zhongba also drew that picture thingy.”
Zhu Zhongba was only concerned with stuffing his face with meat. Only now did he look up: “A map.”
“A map?” Lin Yuan and Yang Zi’an said at the same time.
Maps were very important in any era. The map must be drawn and labeled with the mountains and rivers, and other important geographical locations. Not just anyone could create maps.
Zhu Zhongba licked the oil from his lips, and said: “It’s drawn a bit crudely.”
Lin Yuan: “Let me see ”
Zhu Zhongba handed the map drawn on a piece of cloth over to Lin Yuan.
Lin Yuan examined it for a bit——
“What is this dot?”
Zhu Zhongba explained: “That is a mountain.”
Lin Yuan: “What about this bigger dot?”
Zhu Zhongba explained again: “A bigger mountain.”
Lin Yuan: “Is this a river? It looks like it.”
Zhu Zhongba: “…….that area has a lot of snakes.”
It looked like this map only Zhu Zhongba could make any sense of. Lin Yuan said: “Let me draw a new one, Zhongba you explain it to me.”
Without Zhu Zhongba explaining his map on the side he truly couldn’t make any sense of it.
Lin Yuan said suddenly: “Zhongba, I have an idea.”
The room fell quiet, everyone knew Lin Yuan was about to say something important. His expression was especially serious, something that wasn’t common for him.
Zhu Zhongba also put down his chopsticks and stood up, standing in front of Lin Yuan: “Boss, do not hesitate on your orders.”
“I plan to take out 100 men.” Lin Yuan said, “for army training.”
Everyone fell silent. Jiang Gui said softly: “A private army…..this……if the imperial court…….”
But Lin Yuan said: “Our place here is removed and desolate. The imperial court does not have the energy to pay attention to us. Besides, we now have vine armors and weapons. It’s time to train our own private army.”
Zhu Zhongba was the first to react. He clasped his fists: “What Boss entrusts me with, I dare not disobey.”
Lin Yuan supported him up with a hand: “It will be called the Tigers and Panthers battalion (TN: from the idiom ‘jackals, wolves, tigers and panthers’ which refer to not just animals who are dangerous to man and cattle but also fierce and cruel people), and you will be the leader.”
Yang Zi’an suddenly coughed lightly.
Lin Yuan understood his meaning but he still said to Zhu Zhongba: “Zhongba, what do you think of changing your name?”
Zhu Zhongba looked at him strangely.
But Lin Yuan said: “I have a name to grant you.”
“What do you think of ‘Zhu Yuanzhang’?”
Zhu Zhongba for some reason suddenly fe silent. But soon he looked up at Lin Yuan. His eyes had completely changed, the gaze filled with a penetrating killing intent, but this killing intent was not directed at Lin Yuan.
“Boss’ meaning, I understand. There will be a day when I will kill every one of those brigands (TN: by brigands he is referring to those Mongolian officials that rule Yuan China)!”
Other than Yang Zi’an everyone else was rather confused.
Brother Dao asked Yang Zi’an quietly: “Second brother, what does the name mean?”
Yang Zi’an replied softly: “Zhu Yuanzhang, it is taken from the homonym ‘Zhu Yuan Zhi Zhang‘ (TN: meaning to put to death every Yuan).”
But just why did fourth brother have such high hopes for Zhu Yuanzhang?
Yang Zi’an could not make sense of it. That evening he stood outside Lin Yuan’s room, unsure whether to knock on the door. “What is second brother Yang doing standing out here?” Er Liang coincidentally appeared carrying a basin of washing water. He pushed the door open and called out, “young master, second brother Yang is looking for you.”
So the currently hesitant Yang Zi’an could only go inside. The room was warm from the burning firewood, the window only opened a crack. After entering winter, the charcoal burned during the fall came to be of use. Lin Yuan made sure to get across that when burning charcoal the window must be open, otherwise people could die from breathing in the fumes.
The people in the farmstead for some reason listened to Lin Yuan’s words blindly. They did whatever he asked of them and never had second thoughts on it.
Lin Yuan sometimes thought, they lived their lives without any complications, not thinking of anything. If Boss told them to do something they would do it. So long as they didn’t need to worry about what they would eat tomorrow.
The need to ponder on things settled only on his shoulders.
“Fourth brother.” Yang Zi’an waited until Er Liang left before asking, “I understand the importance of training private soldiers, but why do you have Zhu Zhongba take on such responsibility. This person has only just arrived not long ago. I have yet to fully see what kind of person he is. What about having brother Dao be the leader and he can be the deputy?”
Lin Yuan sighed again, in truth did he not have the same worries as Yang Zi’an?
But the problem was, before Zhu Yuanzhang became the emperor he was an excellent and unparalleled military general.
The only one to even be on the same level was Chen Youliang.
Only, Zhu Yuanzhang was luckier than Chen Youliang.
Compared to being an emperor, he was much more effective in the area of military and warcraft. People say that the truth was only held by a small group of people, but in fact, it was even rarer. But Zhu Yuanzhang just so happened to be one of the rare few who can perceive the truth.
In all of the important battles he participated in, his decisions had all been practically the opposite of everyone else’s. But the result proved that he was always in the right.
Lin Yuan was concerned, if brother Dao was the leader, then at critical moments he would reject Zhu Yuanzhang’s advice in favor of the majority opinion. Then the consequences could be unthinkable.
Now he could only watch each step he took.
He didn’t know if Zhu Yuanzhang would be like in history and become one of Guo Zixing’s subordinates. But currently he did not have a better option.
If Zhu Yuanzhang did leave, he didn’t know what he would do.
Lin Yuan said to Yang Zi’an: “Take the steps one at a time.”
Yang Zi’an might not know what Lin Yuan eas thinking but he could make out the determination in the other’s eyes.
“Fourth brother.” Yang Zi’an sat on the side and sighed helplessly, “why are you so anxious.”
Lin Yuan looked surprised.
What should he say? It was already the 9th year of emperor Yuan Shun’s reign. Only 2 years remained until Liu Futong lead an uprising. Fang Guozhen was also waiting for a chance to rebel once again and Xu Shouhui would also rebel 2 years later.
Time does not wait for anyone. The turmoil and chaos of war was just around the corner.
If they didn’t have armed power, how could they retain their footing in such turbulent times?
“The issue with Fang Guozhen, I’m afraid second brother has yet to know.” Lin Yuan saif, “last year, a person named Cai Luantou rebelled and someone accused Fang Guozhen of colluding with this person. Fang Guozhen killed the accuser and escaped to the sea, gathering a thousand or so of people in a revolt, seizing the shipping canals and the food supply being transported.”
Yang Zi’an narurally did not know this news, he stared fixatedly at Lin Yuan: “What happens next.”
Lin Yuan said: “He took prisoner of the provincial government and requested for a surrender.”
“Nowadays there is a widespread folk song, has second brother heard of it?” Lin Yuan suddenly changed the subject.
Yang Zi’an: “What is it?”
Lin Yuan: “The sky is high the emperor is far, the common people are few the lord masters are many, 1 day 3 beatings, if you don’t rebel what else can you do?”
Yang Zi’an repeated the folk song and then sighed in the end: “Yuan dynasty, its luck has dried, its course has run.”
“Those who revolt, will become more and more.” Lin Yuan looked at Yang Zi’an seriously, “we will inevitably do the same.”
Yang Zi’an: “Fourth brother, if you have orders and yet I hesitate, then I will not be called Yang Zi’an.”
Since they had made the decision to train an armed force then they must put in all their efforts.
Lin Yuan did not place all his hopes on a 100 man army and expect them to be able to do much.
Recruiting talents and inviting the valorous was something that he must do, but not now. What they must do now was to elevate their military power.
The number of people would be the most critical element.
Currently the farmstead had a total of 140 grown men, but the farmstead still required farmers.
Lin Yuan increasingly gelt that there was too little people.
He said to Yang Zi’an: “Second brother, I must have people make another trip outside.”
He must go find someone.
Yang Zi’an: “To where?”
Lin Yuan stood with one hand placed behind his back and looked out the window to the far off distance.
“Xing Hua city, Taizhou.”
He must find Zhang Shicheng and the ’18 Poles’ recorded in history.
The Zhang Shicheng of now should currently be at the saltpan.
Lin Yuan wanted to build up his strength and when the time as right, attack and capture Xing Hua.
And Zhang Shicheng and the other salt miners would be the ones to lead their way.
Zhang Shicheng and the others were currently still living under oppression. There was large possibility of taking them into his ranks.
“Who will go?” Yang Zi’an said suddenly, “you cannot go.”
Lin Yuan also knew he could not leave now. If he did then the farmstead would be thrown into a panic.
After all, for some reason the people in the farmstead only listened to him.
“I will go.” Yang Zi’an stood up, “although I don’t know why you have such high expectations of Zhu Zhongba but I will let you know, I, Yang Zi’an, am also not just a rice bucket.”
Lin Yuan was just having a headache over who to send but now that Yang Zi’an willingly stepped forward he thought it over and felt that Yang Zi’an was indeed the best choice.
Not mentioning anything else, Yang Zi’an was cultured at least!
And he was not just a man who went by the book, most importantly Yang Zi’an knew how to be flexible and adapt to the situation.
Lin Yuan: “Second brother, I will leave it to you.”
“At that time, remember to go to Bai Ju saltpan and find a person named Zhang Shicheng. If you can bring him back it would be the best.”
Yang Zi’an: “What is so special about this person?”
Lin Yuan did not know how to explain so he could only say: “A few years ago we met, he is likely not living very well.”
Yang Zi’an understood.
He thought Lin Yuan was once again overtaken by kindness and sympathy but he was already used to it.
In any case, the answer managed to trick Yang Zi’an from asking anymore.
After having made the decision, it was time to begin the training and 100 men were picked. Although they had yet to melt metal and make more weapons but the blades taken from the bandits and the soldiers were enough to arm 100 men.
Training soldiers was not a simple thing. Lin Yuan did not understand much, only knowing that back in the modern times the soldiers had physical training and trained also in discipline and obeying orders.
Although Zhu Yuanzhang was a military genius but he had only just started with experience in just managing the oxen belonging to the landowners. It was his first time managing people and while he might have ambitions, not much changed after several days.
After all these people were either porters or farmers, not soldiers. They didn’t understand the army’s discipline.
So Lin Yuan could only take on the responsibility. In any case he could just go by the books. If it worked then great, if not he’ll just think of another solution.
The first thing they must practice was obeying orders, only after this step would the rest follow.
Lin Yuan stood on a raised platform and said to the people below him: “When I yell charge you will charge in the direction I point to, understood?!”
The men shouts: “Understood!”
Fine…..whether they truly understood or not, in any case they just had to understand the hand signals.
Lin Yuan, during the past few days, only had them charge in different directions.
After the session, the men sprawled exhausted on the ground but were again called to continue by Yang Zi’an and brother Dao.
It remained the same for a whole week.
By the second week, whenever Lin Yuan raised his hand everyone immediately paid attention. Even before he even shouted an order, just pointing in a certain direction, they would have already charged in that direction.
In actuality, training obedience was a rather difficult matter. What Lin Yuan was currently doing was to have them develop automatic responses.
The body acting before the brain even sent down orders.
Only then did he have them pick up weapons, their opponents being immobile wooden stakes.
Lin Yuan pointed in one direction and they would slash in that direction, until the stakes were all fallen.
Everyday passed with mechanical training and these people’s obedience increased.
Zhu Yuanzhang sat with Lin Yuan and they chat under the stars. He asked: “Boss, how did you come up with such a method?”
How come he didn’t think of it?
Lin Yuan thought a bit and said: “I saw it in the books.”
Zhu Yuanzhang widened his eyes: “The books even has information on this?”
Lin Yuan smiled: “Sunzi’s Art of War.”
Zhu Yuanzhang sighed: “I hear it often from others but have never read it.”
In this era, books were luxury items, monopolized by the upper class. The lower class didn’t even recognize words, let alone read books.
Zhu Yuanzhang might be literate, but he learned words in Huang Jue temple, the temple’s books of course could not have anything regarding military topics.
There was no need to mention the importance of military books. Every ruling class of every dynasty and kingdom would not allow such books to be made public.
Lin Yuan said: “Everyone has his own position. That the inperial court controls this is very normal.”
Zhu Yuanzhang didn’t understand: “Why?”
Lin Yuan: “In every dynasty there is more importance placed on literary pursuits than in military pursuits. Why?”
Zhu Yuanzhang thought it over seriously: “If you pursue military career and there is no war then it would be difficult to advance.”
Lin Yuan smiled: “During peaceful times, those with military talent or strength is of the few. Most emperors came into power on the battlefield and will naturally fear that someone will do the same as him and overthrow the previous dynasty.”
“However, like Song dynasty which is well known to be rich and prosperous at its height but with a weak military, you would only be like a lamb for slaughter without military power to guard your riches.”
“With more scholars, the dynasty will remain at peace.”
Zhu Yuanzhang was confused: “A lot of scholars are useless and only rely on their family wealth for a living. Even if all the family wealth is invested in one person he may not even be able to pass the examinations and become an official. What is the point?”
Lin Yuan remembered coming across this question and knew the answer given so repeated it: “Scholars are physically weak and cannot tell apart the different grains. They even have difficulty lifting a hoe. What can they use to revolt? They don’t need to be productive. As long as scholars continue scholarly pursuits, farmers continue farming the land, and merchants continue commerce, the world will be at peace.”
“If you are the emperor, can you tolerate talents and geniuses in your rule?” Lin Yuan asked, “if you are the emperor, you won’t be afraid of these talented people gathering and overthrowing you?”
“The people in power, they see the people as oxen and sheep.”
“The officials as dogs that herd the ox or sheep.”
“The emperor is the owner of the sheep pen.”
Lin Yuan smiled at Zhu Yuanzhang: “In truth, this is an apt discription.”
Zhu Yuanzhang looked at Lin Yuan.
Lin Yuan said: “The benevolence of those in power can sometimes be a form of cruelty. The nation is just a large sheep pen. As long as everyone do what they should, naturally the world will be at peace.”
Zhu Yuanzhang suddenly asked: “Boss, do you also see the farmstead as a sheep pen?”
Lin Yuan paused. He looked up at the night sky, shaking his head he sighed: “If that day truly does arrive, then I will no longer be myself.”
The emperor was a tiger and a mountain could not fit two tigers. So quite a lot of emperors killed their subordinates after gaining imperial power.
“Go sleep.” Lin Yuan stood up.
Zhu Yuanzhang also stood: “Boss, I have a last question.”
Lin Yuan: “Ask.”
Zhu Yuanzhang: “Why do you have me be the leader of the Tiger and Panther battalion? Isn’t brother Dao more suitable?”
Lin Yuan said: “Brother Dao has his own role, as for you, you will understand in the future. I only hope that the day when you do understand will not be the day you will take your leave.”
Zhu Yuanzhang was even more confused: “Leave?”
Lin Yuan smiled: “It is too early to speak of this.”
Saying so, Lin Yuan patted Zhu Yuanzhang’s shoulder and headed towards his house.
Leaving Zhu Yuanzhang standing alone under the night sky.
In the dormitories, Li Da rubbed his leg after an exhausting day, and complained: “Who knew being a soldier is this tiring.”
His dormmate on the side was just as tired, sprawling out on the bed immobile: “At least we eat fully and don’t have to do anything else. I heard before that soldiers don’t get fed as much as we do.”
“Will we truly go to war?” Li Da asked suddenly.
No one in the dormitory said anything.
After a while, someone said: “Soldiers fight in wars. That’s why they are called soldiers.”
Li Da was a bit scared: “I just want to farm, I don’t want to fight in wars.”
Someone laughed at him: “You think we do?”
“But Boss says, if we just know how to farm the lands when the bandits come we’ll be completely helpless. They would kill us and eat our flesh.” The person had a deep belief in Lin Yuan, “Boss is right.”
Li Da sighed, he could understand the reason but who wanted to fight in wars.
But the next day, Li Da must still put on his vine armor and pick up his blade to stand in formation. During the past few days they were no longer practicing obeying orders but to ‘stand’. In the cold winter winds they must stand stationary and immobile. If someone were to even twitch everyone else must stand longer for another hour.
Let’s not even mention the punishment, if someone did move everyone else would hate him to death first.
At this phase, they were training in discipline.
When their standing at attention was almost at an end, then they would be doing physical training such as long distance running, situps, frog hops and anything else Lin Yuan could think of.
Whenever it came time to rest, everyone was tired as dogs.
It wasn’t as if no one was discontent but whenever someone showed it someone on the side would teach him a lesson.
“You now have food and drink, so what if you’re a bit tired? In the past we had endured starving while farming the fields. The way I see it, you have gotten too used to living the good days and now don’t know your place anymore.”
“That’s right, you’re just taking advantage of Boss’ kindness. I think that Boss should just throw you out the farmstead. Let’s see how many days you can survive out in the wilderness.”
“It’s better to just throw him out, in case we are implicated by him.”
The person being scolded could just sheepishly bow his head and admit to being wrong, only then would everyone be satisfied.
But there was actually someone who believed Lin Yuan to be softhearted and wouldn’t leave his bed when it came time for training. Not moving even if someone pulled on him.
After reporting this to Lin Yuan, Lin Yuan said expressionlessly: “Since he doesn’t want to stay anymore, then throw him out.”
The one doing the reporting was Li Da and from Lin Yuan’s cold gaze he understood that Lin Yuan would not change his decision.
“I don’t believe it!” The person just now hanging on to his bed struggled against his captors, “Boss can’t possibly throw me out! Let me see Boss! I want to ask clearly!”
Li Da sighed: “You don’t need to go ask Boss, Boss won’t see you.”
The surrounding people looked at this scene and someone said quietly: “Boss has such a kind heart he won’t truly throw him out. It’s just to scare him.”
“That’s right, hurry and say that you are wrong, Boss will definitely forgive you.”
The person yelled: “I’m wrong! I know that I’m wrong! Boss! Boss!”
Li Da had the person dragged out the farmstead. The area surrounding the farmstead was completely empty and absent of other people, surviving in the wilderness would be difficult but not completely without hope. But even if they did survive there wouldn’t be any good days, especially during the winter.
Even up until he was dragged out the farmstead the person still did not believe that he was seriously being thrown out. “I want to see Boss! Li Da! Li Da you are getting rid of me on purpose!” The person screamed, “I just woke up a little bit late!”
Li Da dropped him on the ground and said: “You don’t need to think about going back to the farmstead. Boss said that if you go back then to give you a beating and throw you out again.”
The person had a confused expression: “I don’t believe it. Boss won’t be that heartless, I don’t believe it.”
Quite a lot of people were watching and in truth they don’t believe it either. Even now they still thought it was just a scare tactic.
“You should believe it.” Lin Yuan’s voice came from behind them. He walked over and looked at the people in front of him, a rare coldness in his tone.
“I have always been good tempered.” Lin Yuan said.
No one spoke.
Lin Yuan: “So long as you feel that the training is too hard and don’t want to train anymore, step out.”
“I’ll give you one chance, step out!”
No one dared to move.
Lin Yuan sneered: “Too used to living the good days, if you don’t want to anymore then leave. I won’t stop you.”
“Those who want to take my place, also step out now. Cut off my head and this farmstead is yours.”
“You don’t want to train then go outside and if in the future you become successful I will not say one word.”
“This is just the first warning. Only being thrown out.”
Lin Yuan’s gaze swept across the people, “if there is a next time then they will be thrown out with a broken leg.”
Lin Yuan: “Those who want to leave now, I will give them a sack of beans and grains. Go or stay, it is your choice.”
Li Da swallowed, he also heard swallowing from the people at his side.
This world as it was now, what would just a sack of beans and grains be good for?
Lin Yuan: “I have food, and meat. Your food, clothes and lodgings——you don’t need to worry about any of it. If despite this you are still not satisfied, then don’t blame me for being heartless.”
The prestige of the authorities could never be infringed upon.
Once their prestige was questioned and their authority encroached upon, then no one would be afraid of him. Just love and respect was not enough.
It was always easy for people to offend someone with a good temperament.
But they would never try and challenge a severe person.
He could give some benefits in small measures and exercise his benevolence.
But he could definitely not allow others to think he was easy to step on.
Once people discovered going against his orders would not result in any consequences, then they would not only not feel grateful but take even more advantages.
Lin Yuan stood there and never felt more unfamiliar with himself.
But he also knew, this was a necessary step. He could not make any detours nor could he avoid it.
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